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Hayley Atwell helped create Mission: Impossible 7 character from scratch

2019 Evening Standard Theatre Awards
Hayley Atwell

Hayley Atwell worked with Tom Cruise and director Christopher McQuarrie to create her character from scratch for Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One.

In the latest instalment in the high-octane action franchise, the Captain America actress plays Grace, an ambiguous character who becomes an ally to Cruise’s Ethan Hunt.

Atwell explained to Collider that McQuarrie asked her to do a screen test with Cruise for the “new leading lady” but they didn’t know exactly who the character was. This freedom allowed them to create Grace as they went along.

“There wasn’t a character that I had to fit into, there was just this brief of going, ‘We want to find the actress who loves this work ethic, who loves the process of it, who loves to collaborate and throw herself into every opportunity with all of these resources of working with these experts, as is possible. And from that, a character is going to emerge,'” she explained.

Atwell revealed that the process was “collaborative” every step of the way and they tried “lots of different things” to figure out who Grace was.

“I came in going, ‘We don’t know who this character is,’ she didn’t have a name for a long time, ‘But I will try lots of different things, and we’re gonna see what lands, and we’re gonna see what the film wants. I’m gonna see what the camera wants and, ultimately, what the audience wants.’ So, here you have Grace,” she continued.

The British actress added that McQuarrie and Cruise made changes to the script constantly and she enjoyed their way of working because it felt “very alive”.

“Just the sheer variety of what I was asked to do and had access to learning was so all-encompassing that it’s, far beyond the film, really changed my life,” she praised.

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One is in cinemas now.

– Cover Media